Sounders busy scouting as opening of transfer window nears

TUKWILA — In the past few weeks, Chris Henderson has been across Europe and South America scouting for Sounders FC.

Amazing to think the sporting director still has time to get ready for his wedding later this week, but such is the busy assignment ahead of the July 9 opening of the MLS transfer window, the monthlong period when teams can sign players from leagues worldwide.

While those players can’t be added to the roster for another two weeks, Seattle has long been on the hunt.

“We’re always looking, but now as it starts to get closer, we’re looking at some specific positions,” said Henderson, indicating those positions are “up the spine,” perhaps a central defender and/or midfielder.

Also scouting is assistant coach Kurt Schmid, who has been in Turkey during the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

The Sounders already have a full allotment of three designated players, and therefore not a lot of salary-cap room, so any addition would likely require accommodating roster moves such as trades or cuts.

“Those are conversations we have, whether it’s going to be right for the team and right for us to try and make a push to improve the team in the window,” Henderson said. “It’s all timing.”

One player linked to Seattle has been defender David Navarro of Levante UD in Spain’s La Liga, according to Spanish reports.

Henderson confirmed the Sounders have watched Navarro several times since he played at Levante with current Seattle forward Obafemi Martins.

“He’s a move I don’t know if we’re going to be able to make or not,” Henderson said of Navarro, “but I think he’s a player who would do well in MLS.”

A tighter deadline for a roster decision is Sunday, when the loan of midfielder Mario Martinez expires. The Sounders have indicated several times they want the Honduran national back but that it’s a matter of making it work financially.

“Those are ongoing negotiations,” Henderson said, “so we’ll have a decision shortly on him.”

Schmid undergoes knee surgery

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid underwent partial knee replacement surgery on his left knee Tuesday. He is expected to return to practice Friday, and assistant coach Brian Schmetzer will assume Schmid’s responsibilities until then.

The procedure was planned around the break in Seattle’s schedule; the team’s next game isn’t until July 3 against D.C. United.

“It’s a great opportunity for Brian,” Henderson said. “I think he’d be a great head coach in this league one day. We really don’t miss a beat when he takes over.”